How Samantha Power, the head of US aid, is battling Russia and the global food crisis.

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How Samantha Power, the head of US aid, is battling Russia and the global food crisis.

Samantha Power gained notoriety as a human rights activist and was chosen by President Joe Biden to head the organization that disburses billions of dollars in foreign aid from the US, including more food aid than any other country in the world.

However, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this job now also entails a brand-new, Cold War-inspired responsibility: debunking Russian propaganda abroad.

As the head of the US Agency for International Development, Power is currently dealing with a global food crisis that has been sparked by regional strife, the economic devastation caused by the pandemic, drought, and other extreme weather events typical of climate change.

The Biden administration frequently emphasizes that the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has made every issue worse by escalating food shortages and driving up prices worldwide.

When Power visited helpless families and struggling farmers in Horn of Africa countries last month, it created a hearts-and-minds competition reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s early years.

She observed aid workers providing children with emergency food as she announced new food aid. Children are typically among the first people to die in food crises.

But unexpectedly, Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, followed her to Africa a few days later, stopping in at other nations’ capitals to deliver a different message designed to strengthen his nation’s ties with that continent.

According to Lavrov, crucial grain supplies from the global market were cut off as a result of US and international sanctions against Russia for its six-month invasion of Ukraine.

He disregarded “the alleged food crisis” on the hardest-hit continent.

In reality, a Russian blockade has prevented Ukraine from exporting its grain.

Fertilizer and agricultural supplies are exempt from international sanctions against Russia.

“What we’re not going to do,” said Power, speaking to The Associated Press from her office in Washington, “is just allow the Russian Federation, which is still insisting it’s not at war in Ukraine, to blame the latest spike in food and fertilizer prices on sanctions and on the United States.”

People are able to tell the difference between emergency humanitarian aid and attempts to start a new Cold War, Power said, especially when they are dealing with a crisis of this magnitude.

“People, especially when they’re facing a crisis of this magnitude, really do know the difference about… whether you’re at a podium trying to make it a new Cold War… or whether you’re providing emergency humanitarian assistance,” Power said.

Lavrov is believed to have gone to Africa shortly after.

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